Regional and national publisher Reach saw a record year-on-year increase of 26 per cent in digital revenues in the last quarter of 2020, according to its full-year results.
And the owner of The Mirror, Express and Star dailies, as well as a host of regional daily and weekly titles has grown its digital revenue by over 20 per cent so far in this current year.
The publisher reported a 14.6 per cent fall in revenue in 2020 to £600.2m but an above expectation adjusted operating profit of £133.8m.
The company decided not to offer shareholders a dividend for 2019 in April when the immediate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic became apparent, but its board has now proposed a 4.26p per share dividend for 2020 subject to approval at the AGM in May.
Reach chief executive Jim Mullen said the last quarter’s digital growth was an encouraging end to an unprecedented year. Across 2020 digital revenues were up 10.6 per cent despite a significant drop in advertising.
The company now has 5.8m registered users, outstripping its original target of 2m by the end of 2020. It has now set its target to reach 10m registered users by 2022.
Print still accounts for 71 per cent of Reach’s total revenue where revenues were down 18.9 per cent in 2020.
The company claimed £7m through the Government’s job retention scheme to furlough staff last year and also £4m in temporary pay reductions and £7m from the suspension of bonuses all of which reduced staff costs by £22.9m to £217.2m.
Reach spent £16.5m on redundancy payments, shedding some 550 jobs as part of changes it says will result in annual cost savings of more than £35m.